Even though our family was directly involved in the sacrifice in the first Iraq invasion, no one came out and told us why we were pulling out. There was a vague rumor about how we couldn’t take out Saddam because he was the only person strong enough to keep everyone else in the Middle East in place, and they didn’t want to destabilize the whole region. The concern was that if Iraq fell, Iran would run all over everyone and then we’d have a real problem.
I didn’t agree then, and I don’t agree now. I still say we should have stayed and finished the job. I’d have been happy to take my mother-in-law and the other wives and moms of the deployed soldiers to kick Saddam’s butt ourselves.
I’m still mad it him for taking my baby’s father away from us for seven months, grateful as I am that he made it home safely to father our second baby. I still remember how angry I was when I saw the oil fields burning on CNN, and how frightened I was every time I heard a car pull up in my driveway. I spent seven months peering out the front window, terrified that it was a staff car with a chaplain.
The only thing that stopped the fear and worry enough that I could function was the act of mentally thinking through the worst-case scenarios and making contingency plans. What if I do get a staff car? I’ll call Sandy and have her come get Alex; I won’t be able to take care of him after I’ve gotten the news. When I can pull myself together, I’m going to ask my commander for a discharge, sell everything except what’s most precious, and move back to Michigan. If need be, I’ll camp in Mom’s back yard until I can buy a little house. I’ll have enough family close-by to babysit while I’m at work.
That’s how military wives get through the night when we’re afraid that our men won’t come home, but after reading what Mohammed had to say, I say we’re better off than the Iraqi women who got through the night by making contingency plans about what they’d do if their husbands didn’t come home from work, or if the police broke down the door and took her husband and sons from the dinner table. For us, the threat is personal. For them, it was personal and imminent.